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America: Bountiful, Benevolent and Brave
|by Dr. Neria H. Hebbar|
During the two great wars in the 20th century, America played significant roles coming to the defense of countries both in Europe and Asia, and putting an end to reprehensible regimes of genocide and torture. These are well established facts, though it does not hurt to remind the rest of the world, the sacrifices Americans made and the losses they endured in defending freedom in foreign lands. In these days of apparent hatred and dislike for Americans by the world body, it is time to examine the positive effects America has had over the world since its birth in 1776. A polite reminder that the world we live in today would have been lot worse in every aspect, had it not been for American ingenuity; entrepreneurship; altruism; and conviction. America is blessed with natural beauty and it is a fertile land. But above all, its people are free thinkers, who guard and cherish their freedom, the secret of which they are willing to share with the rest of the world. They believe that it is imperative that every human being should be free; it is a God given right of every man, woman and child. American's believe in liberty, justice and an inalienable right in the pursuit of happiness.
Gift of Science
Starting in the 19th century with the inventions of the light bulb and the telephone, life has been transformed on this planet. Then came the automobile, which revolutionized transportation. The airplane made traveling practical and long distances shorter. Motion pictures and television made the world smaller and accessible to many parts of the world. News traveled instantly and this was enhanced by computers. The Internet and email as well as the cell phone have given the tools of communication to every remote corner of the world. In the interim, America has pushed beyond the frontiers of our world and has made outer space travel possible. Our planets are being explored and the promise of humans colonizing another planet or moon is not unrealistic. Researches in scientific frontiers are proceeding in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and genetics - all of which can only make life better for human beings on this planet. A great majority of Nobel Prize winners are Americans.
It is hard to imagine life without these amenities that we take for granted. There are more accomplishments of American scientists which are not as glaringly obvious. The progress in sound technology and music and entertainment industry are quite plain to see. What about combating disease and hunger around the world? Vaccines and new drugs for treating diseases are being researched at feverish pace under the tutelage of American companies around the world. The drug combination to slow down the progress of AIDS was first introduced to the world by America. In the field of agriculture, improvements in farming and control of pests have given even a third world country a chance to become self sufficient in food production. The green revolution, as it is called, has helped feed millions of people who otherwise would have died from hunger.
Freedom and Liberty
In liberation of oppressed people, America has been champion par none. After the Second World War, whence America helped liberate millions of Europeans and Asians, the trend has continued. Because American policies in Asia, Taiwanese and the South Koreans are free. East Europeans saw freedom and liberation come to them when they were released from the clutches of the evil Soviet Empire. The Balkans was relieved of their dictator Milosevic by Americans, when Europeans had cold feet in dealing with him. Kuwaitis were supported by Americans and rid them of expansionistic Saddam Hussein. Afghanistan was defended twice in the last quarter of century, first from Soviet aggression and then from the ruthless barbaric rule of the Taliban. Iraqis themselves were relieved of their tyrant and murderous thug, Saddam Hussein. Here is the list of countries helped by America, the bastion of freedom and liberty, since the last 50 years.
This adds up to more than 500 million people, who have been saved from the jaws of oppression and dominance. This is not to say that Americans have never seen failure. At various times, faulty policies have been followed by governments in supporting dictators. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were encouraged by America, when they were perceived as necessary to achieve its goals. Liberation of South Viet Nam was a failure that had repercussions for decades in the way America involved itself with other countries. But when it counted, the oppressed country can always count on America to give a helping hand. It has done what the United Nations talks about of doing but does not have the make up or the political will. When the U.N. seemed to be impotent, America has taken bold steps to help spread democracy.
Democracy is not easy to install nor is it easy to guard. It is a constant struggle to achieve democracy and to protect it. Every generation has a duty to protect it and pass it on to the next generation to cherish and protect. Reagan had these memorable words when describing freedom: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." The founding fathers held the idea of freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness in high esteem.
Charity is another unique feature of America. American money and help are pledged around the world wherever there are disasters. Be it earth quake in Iran or India, hunger in Somalia or Sudan, floods in Central America or Bangladesh, Americans open up their wallets and donate generously. Private donations outnumber the money and aid sent by the government. American government has pledged $10 billion over the next ten years, more money for AIDS treatment in Africa than all the rest of the countries of the world put together. However, criticism of America for not doing enough was the most discussed topic in the recent world AIDS conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Country after country went to the podium and piled on America for abandoning the AIDS victims in Africa! Yet, this will not deter the largesse of the American citizen. In the next crisis or disaster, one can be sure that more money will pour out of their hearts to alleviate human suffering.
Global war on Terrorism
Since the United Nations will not fight terrorism around the world (it even has trouble defining the term'terrorism'), America has taken up on itself the whole burden, especially since it was attacked on September 11, 2001. Much progress has been made in the last three years since that attack. Afghanistan has become a democracy and is in the process of conducting its first free elections in several decades. Gone are the oppressive Taliban from power. Women, who were specially oppressed, are now leading a new life of freedom and are actively pursuing careers which were considered taboo by the Taliban. NATO is actively involved in foreseeing the election process in the coming months. A new constitution has been adopted. These are not small achievements in a country where anarchy was the rule a few short years ago.
America has been dragged into a world of terrorism and a sleeping giant has been awakened. The September 11th attack has made it clear that Americans are the targets all over the world. It is imperative that a president protect the citizens that chose him as their leader, from these attacks. It is a very difficult job and the president has to do whatever he can, given the circumstances and intelligence given to him. A decision has to be made in a speedy manner so that any chance of a disastrous attack can be averted. Mistakes will be made but it is definitely better to err on the side of caution. Iraq is such an example. Much progress has been made in Iraq since the invasion in March of 2003. It is moving towards self rule and elections will be held there by the end of this year. Here are some of the progresses in Iraq that have largely gone unnoticed by the world at large.
Not bad progress in less than 18 months after liberation! It took America more than five years to secure and stabilize Germany and Japan after the Second World War. At the same time America is not disillusioned by the success of the war on terrorism so far. This is a long drawn out fight and the enemy is not like any other America has faced before. There are no rules of engagement, no adherence to Geneva codes or humane treatment of POW's, by the terrorists. They believe in mass executions, inflicting of maximum casualty for its shock value, and beheading innocents to coerce allies to abandon agreements.
Only resolute leadership at the top and steadfast commitment to preserving freedom and democracy will finally drive the evil force of terrorism out of business.
These are the values America is blamed for forcing down the throats of other countries. But these are noble values that can only make the world a better place. They can bring peace to the world. But the journey is an arduous one, no doubt. But as long as there is progress, as enumerated here, there is hope.
God Bless America.
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